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The Golden Age of Apocalypse
Thundercat is big thoughts condensed into deliberate concepts, executed with full commitment
What record can, in the space of twenty seconds, transition from acid jazz into funky electronica via a hip-hop break? One released by Brainfeeder.
A few years back, Los Angeles’ beat cosmonaut, Flying Lotus, decided to start a label that would channel his endless energies into a solidified movement. Lotus’ releases, particularly the pioneering Cosmogramma, are musical clashes of civilations. The artists on his label tend to follow suit, but mostly to a lesser degree. Lorn’s electronic beats do that FlyLo spazz from time to time, and Teebs refines the label founder’s more psychedelic moments—but nothing gets quite as schizophrenic as FlyLo’s work.
Then came Thundercat. His moniker might precipitate music steeped in recycled visual culture, but that isn’t really the case. The Golden Age of Apocalypse jitters between styles of music but maintains a sort of jazz and r&b foundation. But it jitters in a good way—probably thanks to Lotus’ involvement in the production of this record. He may just be the very reason for the medley, too.
No matter how unexpected, the shifts tend to fit—whether it’s acoustic soul or robotic ambience we’re talking about. The galactic funk streaks of ‘Daylight’ lean towards Dam-Funk, ‘Walkin” towards the better parts of Phonte and Nicolay as Foreign Exchange. Thundercat’s weapon of choice, the bass guitar, is prevalent throughout. Not least in that magnificent switch from trippy swing to a roaring break at the end of ‘It Really Doesn’t Matter to You’ before ‘Jamboree’, an instrumental funk number, kicks in.
Those twenty seconds epitomize the idea; Brainfeeder is about big thoughts—condensed into deliberate concepts, executed with full commitment. The Golden Age of Apocalypse is no different.